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National Human Rights Commission concludes that journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro was tortured, her freedom of expression rights violated

(CEPET/IFEX) - Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) has issued a recommendation to the governors of the states of Puebla and Quintana Roo calling on them to conduct an investigation into the actions of police officers who arrested journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro in December 2005. The CNDH came to the conclusion that the journalist was tortured and her basic individual rights were violated. In a public statement, the CNDH also said that Cacho Ribeiro's detention constituted an indirect method used to hinder freedom of expression.

In its analysis of the case, the CNDH detected administrative irregularities as the Quintana Roo Public Prosecutor's Office (Procuraduría de Justicia) allowed for the detention of the journalist to take place before the documents needed to proceed with this move were received from the Puebla Public Prosecutor's Office.

Cacho Ribeiro was detained on 16 December 2005 after businessman Kamel Nacif accused her of defamation and libel. The complaint against the journalist was lodged after she linked Nacif to a child sexual abuse case in the book entitled "The Demons of Eden".

After a telephone conversation, in which Nacif thanked the governor of Puebla for his assistance in detaining Cacho Ribeiro, came to light, the Mexican congress called on the Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) to intervene in the case.

However, on 29 November 2007, the SCJN concluded that, although there were irregularities in Cacho Ribeiro's detention, serious violations of her rights were not proven and there was no conspiracy between the governor of Puebla and Nacif.

In its recommendation, the CNDH urged the governor of Puebla to compensate Cacho Ribeiro for any damages suffered, in addition to calling for the implementation of measures to prevent torture and the provision of training for police officers and public servants in order to avoid actions that violate human rights.

The state governors have 15 working days to decide whether they will accept the CNDH's recommendation and a similar time period within which to prove that the measures called for in the recommendation have been implemented.

Updates the Cacho Ribeiro case:

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